Sticking to your fishing strengths can result in a surprise personal best.

Sticking to your fishing strengths can result in a surprise personal best.

A Surprise Personal Best
The Tip of the Week Presented by Jackson Kayak
Words and photos by Evan Howard

While competing at the Knoxville, TN stop on the River Bassin tournament trail, I employed one of my favorite bass tactics to break my personal record for rainbow trout. Twice, within ten minutes! I was supposed to be chasing smallies, but my favorite smallie tactics led me to some trophy sized rainbows instead.

I was fishing one of Tennessee's most famous trout and smallmouth rivers just east of Knoxville in my Jackson Kilroy. I planned on working a discharge coming from a water treatment plant. Water discharges, dams, tributaries, waterfalls and even culverts pump in nutrient rich, oxygenated water which attracts prey items and, in turn, predatory fish. All species of predatory fish are attracted to these key features, so I planned to spend time making repetitive casts to from various angles.

I anchored upstream of the discharge with a Power Pole Micro and began making long casts into the discharge and working my soft jerkbait towards the boat. I probably made ten casts before I hooked up with my first trout. The 4.5-pound rainbow ripped off drag and broke my personal record by a full 2.5 pounds. I changed positions and began making repetitive casts to an eddy adjacent to the discharge and hooked and landed another giant rainbow trout. At 5 pounds even, it broke my personal record I set not 10 minutes before.

Both of these fish were landed on nose-hooked soft jerkbaits. Soft jerkbaits like the Zoom Super Fluke are ultra-versatile and can be fished in a multitude of situations. Traditionally, soft jerkbaits are Texas-rigged on offset worm hooks, but I prefer to nose hook them with finesse wide gap hook. This gives them much more action and a higher hookup ratio.

Attach the lure with a loop knot to a fluorocarbon leader so the bait can swing freely and sink on the pause. The standard ‘twitch, twitch, pause’ retrieve works well, but I like to sweep my rod tip in a smooth, downward stroke then pause and point the rod top back at the lure, giving the line slack. The tail flutters like a fleeing minnow and then does an about face on the pause and begins a fluttering death spiral. Take these two tips into account on your next trip and you may be breaking personal records of your own.